It was an emotional afternoon for the Wonderfamily today. Baxter, who has been out of it all day and brought home some less-than-stellar papers from school, melted down about school work that is apparently simultaneously too easy and too difficult, and informed me that he’s exhausted all the time at school, despite his 10.5 solid hours of sleep every night. “Maybe it’s because I’m growing so fast,” he suggested tearfully. Indeed; he has grown an inch since Christmas. We cuddled on the couch for a while and talked about feeling overwhelmed and the winter blues, and a while later when I turned on some music I watched him whirl in circles and boogie to his heart’s content. He seemed more himself afterward.
For his part, Lyle pulled a stunt I hadn’t seen in a long while, that of purposely making requests that he knew I would say “no” to (such as getting McDonald’s for dinner out of the blue, or getting his bike from storage and riding it just as I was beginning to make dinner) and then falling apart over each denial. “I haven’t gotten to make a choice in YEARS!” he wailed. (Matt later pointed out that just last night he got to make the choice to wear his swimsuit to bed in lieu of pajamas, so that isn’t 100% accurate. But you probably already knew that.)
I’m not entirely sure why the crazy hit our little household this afternoon all of a sudden – and for both of the boys – although in hindsight I realize that I talked with them about the fact that I will increase my work hours again this summer on our drive home from school. At the time they seemed to take it in stride, but I have a feeling it had an impact on little Lyle. Perhaps it didn’t help that we happened to have our former nanny (who took care of him 3 days a week when he was younger and I was working intensely, something that upset Lyle) here babysitting this evening. It’s possible that I didn’t time that conversation so well.
Or maybe it was a fluke, a one-off. Whatever the cause, I was most fascinated by the way Lyle handled it. In the middle of more loud demands from him, I observed aloud that he was really very frustrated and angry, and that I’d like to see a picture of how mad he was. He likes to draw, and went right at it.
First, he brought me this scribbled piece of his mind:
Then he took off and created another:
Finally, he grabbed two pieces of paper and asked for help finding some tape. While I stood by the stove, maddeningly not doing what he wanted, he created his piece de resistance:
I exclaimed over the magnitude of the eruption and how angry he must be. I noted that it must be awful to be so very mad.
And you know what? That was it. Emotionally, he erupted right along with that massive volcano, and the catharsis of drawing it and showing me just how bad it was seemed to be what he needed. Without another word about it from either of us, he puttered around the kitchen, chatting happily about Bakugan toys while I made the wrong dinner and didn’t ride bikes. It was a win-win.